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Nutritionist Cheryl Gill explores five food trends for 2013.

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As a nutritionist I love exploring new products and observing emerging food trends, so at the start of 2013, when would be a better time to write about the foods that are gaining momentum and generating a buzz in the food industry?

Fortunately this coming year we can expect a slew of smarter, healthier foods appearing on restaurant menus and on market shelves.

Our shopping, cooking and diet patterns are changing too. So, what’s hot for 2013? Drum roll, please…

Trend 1: Popcorn, the new trendy snack

Put those crisps away. This year’s big snack will be popcorn. More and more companies are introducing an abundance of popcorn flavours to feast on. Already appearing on the popcorn market are strawberry cheesecake, caramel, and Scotch whiskey!

Trend 2: ‘Free from’ range

You may have noticed already that ‘free from’ ranges have been appearing in larger stores for those with food intolerances. The good news is that there will be an even wider range of products available in 2013. It’s brilliant that mainstream supermarkets are catering to consumer needs.

Trend 3: Natural

The ultimate way to feel good is to eat natural. Being more in touch with our natural side seems to be the direction people want to go in and in turn will shape and drive the food industry in the coming year.

It looks like the UK will see more natural products on their shelves.

Look out for Purple tea and bee pollen (“the fountain of youth”).

Trend 4: New twists on current trends

Did you know coconut water now comes in a powdered form? So you can mix it on the go or add it to fruit smoothies.

Also, nutritious chia seeds are now available as a powder, which can be used in baked goods as a flour substitute or sprinkled over oatmeal and yogurt. Delicious.

Trend 5: Fast food gets fancier... and healthier

The reinvention of the burger! Fast food joints all around the world are up-scaling their menus and offering more choice.

Predications include seeing sweet potato fries added to menus, ‘fancier buns’ such as gluten-free rice buns and spicy jalapeño buns as well as ‘gilded burgers’ topped with a range of gourmet ingredients.

Some experts also think that fast food will continue to get healthier, with reduced levels of fat, salt and sugar continuing the trend from previous years. Sounds good to me.

Bon Appetit!

*Cheryl Gill graduated from St Mary’s University with a Bachelor of Science degree in nutrition. After receiving an award for her final year research project on childhood obesity, Cheryl was offered a scholarship with Organix brands Ltd Foundation, to undertake independent research into the quality of children’s foods within the party market. Cheryl currently writes a nutritional columns and holds the supervisory role at MoreLife weight management programmes in Wandsworth.

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